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but if we stay true to these five principles, five ideas and we are faithful in our implementation, we can reverse this trend and shape the complacency that exist in our country. one of the great challenges for our country is to raise accountability, raise standards. set higher expectations of what the next generation needs to know. benchmark it to the world. make it competitive with the world's best. michael talked about how great britain has done that successfully. the united states needs to transform its system of expectation in the same way. common core of state standards is the right step in that direction. 46 i think states have embraced this idea of fewer higher expectations that require critical thinking skills that are benchmarks to the best of the world. common core will also bring up for joy for those were complacent about in lala land, will bring a painful reality
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check too many moms and dads in the business leaders and to people that love their own communities and love their schools, which is that all children are not above average. [laughter] i know that will be a shock to a whole lot of people, but the simple fact is that all children are not above average or even the kids that we think are above average are not above average when we benchmark them to like minded students in other parts of the world. i don't know if you all follow what's happened in kentucky. kentucky is the first state to adapt common core standards back in february 2010. and now it's the first state to base its assessments on these new standards. most states will have these ready to go by 2014. i'd like to congratulate the state board of education and their governor for giving kentucky students off to a head start in this great 21st century challenge of higher expectations.
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but as anticipate, the test results came in and the kids in kentucky suddenly seemed to get a lot dumber all a lot dumber all of a sudden. 66% of kentucky's elementary students scored proficient or higher on all of the states old reading assessment in 2010 and 2011. that dropped to 48% when the common core standards were implemented in the new assessment tools were used. math scores took a huge hit as well. with a percent of students earning proficient scores plunging from 73% to 40%. kentucky is an early warning indicator for the rest of the nation, as other states implement common core. so we have a challenge. the challenge will be should we just ignore the facts that our children are not truly college and/or career ready? should we accept the fact where moving to second class status? or will we have the courage to stay the course, to faithfully implement higher standards, to assess them accurately, and
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recognize the fact that too many of our children are lagging behind? the initial reaction will be, and it's already started, in florida is begun in other places as well, kill the messenger. blame it on the tests. blame it on somebody. blame it on the former governor. there's all sorts of people that you can blame this stuff on, but the simple fact is if we are going to restore american greatness, which we all want, whether we are liberals or conservatives, we have to start with higher expectations for the next generation. the states that retreat on record will be shortchanging their children, and putting them at a competitive disadvantage. not only with kids from other states, but also with kids from other nations. if we've learned one lesson from reform, it is this. we continually underestimate children. setting high standards and demanding results drive student academic angst.
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far from getting dumber, the students in kentucky are on their way to getting smarter. it will take them adjustment, but our kids will rise to the challenge of these new standards if we give them the opportunity and tools to do. corporations that depend on students being in college and/or career ready when they graduate from high school need to be part of this. there's a growing number of corporations that are doing just that. more than 100 roman catholic diocese from los angeles to orlando are adopting the standards as well. along with a growing list of other private schools, because they recognize the quality of common core and the need to stay competitive. these are by the wages for the the record, these are standards that are developed by states that have come together in our great federalist tradition, around this idea that our standards were too low. and 46 states have embraced this idea. this is not top down driven kind of stuff. i would be the last person to
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support standards conceived and created by the federal government, irrespective of who the president is on the secretary of education is. so when people tell you that that is the case, it's not true. this has been a long-term effort that is important for us, i think, to create a reality check. and the initiative is voluntary. it does not dictate curriculum for teaching strategies. the federal government jumped into the states bandwagon, not the other way around, and this is something i think is important for us to stay the course. i expectations is only one step, in what we needed you and many states are focused on other elements of a comprehensive strategy. accountability is so important. seems to me that lessons learned in life to be applied to education. we reward the things we want more of, we especially reward excellence. we are not as happy when there's mediocrity, and we create
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strategies, turned mediocrity into improvement. and when there's failure we should have no tolerance for it. that is a simple basic accountability system that should be applied in every school district in this country. 10 states have started this journey in what seems to be a simple thing, but ask them how complicated and difficult it can be when you bring ultimate transparency by grading schools, a b. c. d. and f. 100% not on input but on outcomes. on learning games and how students to the proficiency. it's a game changer. it aligns everybody's interest towards what we want more of the rising student achievement. it rewards excellence and when people are in, their kids are in the schools or f schools, ask janet in oklahoma or ask bobby jindal, bobby white in louisiana or in indiana. ask the people that are involved in this, and i guarantee you,
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you have the anecdotal stories that i've seen all across florida, which is the last one happened actually sunday when i was coming back from vacation with my family, a lady grabbed, walking in my international airport, a lady grab a short but oh, god, you know. who knows? because we are governor uk to do a lot of stuff and not all of it is happy times. [laughter] she grabbed my shoulder and she was passionate, and she said, thank you. [laughter] thank you. [laughter] and she said, you know, my kids were in a school that i thought was not doing that well. you guys implemented this a through f grading system. when her school grades came out and they were at a transit mean, it created an outcry and the principal got fired and they started to listen to parents, and that school is a b school now and my kid is going to college. that is what happens. [applause]
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>> i'm excited about the parents movement across this country where parents that have no power and have been have cast aside for way too long now have been given the power to say, if my school is not working, i want to say on how to change it. this is one of those great places where the center left, right, coalitions of this world need to work together. and that's exactly what's happened. parents revolution is by their own definition a liberal group come and in florida where we have passed legislation next year, we are working and we are supposed to be center-right i guess, we will work with everybody to be able to empower parents that right now feel hopeless about whether or not they have been a say about their children's future. so this whole concept of accountability is important.
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in talking about accountability, the idea that you would pass along kids after they reach the end of third grade and say, we're worried about this, so they must go to fourth grade, even though they're functionally illiterate a shameful. that happens in a majority of the schools in a majority of the states in the united states. and it's the beginning of these gaps that we talk about that create a different america. better to have a system that says every child that god has given the ability to being literate, by the start of fourth grade is literate. and develop strategies to make sure that it happens. have no tolerance for the political correctness of our time, that assures that too many people, too many young people, particularly kids living at or near the poverty level will have no chance to be successful. the states that embrace these social promotion policy that does not allow that to happen, that recognizes that we need early intervention for reading strategies as has been implement
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in states like colorado, and has no tolerance for the acceptance of failure will be the states that excel over the next decade of done. accountability, truly, truly matters. in seven states have started on this journey. talk to them about how hard it is but talk to them about the joy of seeing how you can change lives at an early age to ensure that the kids begin to graduate from high school, rather than being functionally illiterate where they can't even fill out a form to get a minimum wage job. teachers are critical, really critical in the learning for so many young people in this country. it is a cliché i guess to say this, but it is so true. we have a system to reward teachers that is based on an industrial unionized model that is completely inappropriate for the 21st century. completely inappropriate. there are incredibly fine teachers that get paid less, even though they are doing the
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lord's work consistently over time. and there are teachers that are mediocre that get paid more, because they have been there longer. longevity is not the determining factor of success in the classroom. we need to make sure that we provide all sorts of resources for teachers when they are struggling to be able to assure that more than, you know, a handful of the kids getting years worth of knowledge in a years time. we should on no tolerance when there's abject failure. we shouldn't to a system that rewards, elevates the profession of teaching as a profession and votes away from this system where longevity is the determining factor of how much money you make. that is the challenge, trust me. there's marks on peoples for its the challenge this notion that over last five years there has been tremendous gains, and new coalitions on the left and right are working to focus to a child focused center and less focus on
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the economic interests of both sides of the economic equation in our school districts. 23 states are requiring annual evaluation from all teachers. 43 states have begun the process of requiring evaluation for new teachers. about six months ago, i do when anybody mission to get mad at me, but six months ago i read a report that a think tank that showed, either east lansing for the lansing school district him something like 775 teachers were evaluated. 774 teachers got a passing evaluation. i know, lansing is a great place, don't get me wrong. i'm sure it has huge -- talented teacher. made we ought to raise the bar higher. have higher expectations for teachers and reward them when they do the right thing rather than just make this some kind of ministerial process that has a consequence. in the states that do that right, we will have rising student achievement.
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it will be massive pushback on this. asked tony bennett, a great commissioner of education in indiana who lost his election -- [applause] >> and doing what's right, doing what's right is not necessarily politically rewarding all the time. that's not why we do this. but it is the right thing to do to transform our system of compensation and evaluation for teachers to the 21st century. and then the third thing i would say, the fourth thing i was is that school choice is the catalytic converter to accelerate these things at a faster pace to if you believe like i do that we need to move this down the field faster, charter schools, vouchers, all sorts of alternatives so parents are more engaged and we create a more open system is part of the answer to the our over 2 million students in charter schools today. thanks to the work of many people in this room.
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100 school districts now have 10% or more of their public school students in charter schools. louisiana this last year passed sweeping scholarship, sweeping scholarship program for low performing schools. kudos again to the center for job well done. and many other states are looking at it. and i would encourage you all to stay the course. once again there will be massive pushback. there's a lot of people are focused on the adults, and this is uncomfortable for people inside the system to offer choices for parents, to empower them to make choices that they can maybe do a better job than what the monopoly dictates. but this is a critical element of a proper strategy for transformational reform. and the final thing i would say is that digital learning is ultimately going to be commonplace across the 50 states. and don't be a joyous occasion when it does. imagine the classroom in a blended learning environment
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where rich digital content comes from the very best providers, where teachers are managing the learning experience for students, where it's covered cece base. we know -- say okay, now it's time to take three months off and then come back and put down are slightly bigger butts for another 180 days, that we move to a system where if you master material, you're not held back. if you haven't mastered the material, you are not pushed a long. that's what technology offers. the ability to customize the learning expect in a powerful way. that requires changes in law. in many states now are embracing elements of what is a digital learning revolution. in doing so i think it will accelerate learning in ways that will create gaps, we will see these gaps begin to narrow and it will create real opportunities for continuous improvement and advancement.
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the final thing i'm going to chile, to talk to you about is about another book. and that's a book being a texan by birth and flirting and by choice, i still have a little texas heritage in me. and i love that carroll books on lyndon johnson to lyndon johnson was a larger-than-life character. is not going to go down in history, all the stories will not say was one of the great presidents of our time. but if you read the third volume of his book, which is an extraordinary example of leadership, and he posted today, it does give you hope that with proper admitted leadership, capitol in washington, we can begin to solve problems. caro tells us about how johnson was vice president of the most powerful guy in the world in washington, d.c., right where we are, when he was majority leader. the go two guy in washington. all things went through his office.
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he became vice president and help john f. kennedy become elected president, and then was relegated to nothing is in effect. he became almost invisible during the first three years of the kennedy administration. the book caro writes about how the kennedy team which came into washington with great hopes, called him corn poke. i love austin underwood to school up there in high school. there's a lot of smart people of the but i've always resented the fact that people in the north think the people in texas are deserving of terms like corn poke. i don't know but you but it kind of upsets me. because we do have people that are a little capable of doing things, including the then president of the united states lyndon johnson. who, in a six-week period kept the kennedy team because it was essential to be able to keep the momentum going on the agenda that's all for three effectively.
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he kept the kennedy team would show the leadership skills of humility. he had the leadership skill of dogged determination to create come and have the skills of creating a strategy, and implemented in a six-week period a 25% across the board cut in income tax rates. believe it or not as a liberal democrat, the idea was to cut taxes to raise revenue, and begin to fund the great society programs. he went to the senate, which was opposed to his ultimate goal of, you know, significant civil rights legislation, and convinced that dean of the senate, who was the budget chairman, that he would commit to a budget that was year-to-year -- not like they do matter what the increase is to grow. he used a weird accounting think of your in washington. a real dollar for dollar reduction in the budget the first time i think in 50 years, when that took place. he got that done. and it required working, sending
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a limo secretly to the senate to bring the senator, senator byrd i believe it was to the white house, to come in and to be courted, and held up high, and the beloved by virginia, now president of the united states, his junior when they were in the senate together. and then he got the most significant civil rights legislation passed in american history. all within six weeks. all because of leadership. all because he did not let go. if it required grabbing people by the shoulders and not letting them leave until they decided that they're going to support him, that's how it works. if it required telling jerks and it would be shameful for the leader of the republican party, a party of lincoln to oppose civil rights legislation, that's what it required. if it. it goes to pay homage to someone who needed to have homage paid to them in order to change their
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deeply held segregationist views, he did it. my point is that leadership matters. and i'm honored to be among the leaders and i hope you stay the course. whether you win or lose in the political row, that is secondary to changing the course of our countries history by focusing on doing the right things congresswoman our education system. there will be losers along the way politically, but we're all winners and we're being a part of something bigger than a thousand were trying to advocate and implement transformational change. god bless you. enjoy the conference. [applause] >> thank you, governor bush. i've known governor bush for
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more than a decade now, and i have to tell you it's truly an honor and privilege to get to work within each and every day. i want to thank all of you for coming to the summit. every year we gather policymakers and policy shakers. those who influence the policy makers, who care about education reform, and we're so thankful to have you here. i have to take a moment to thank our visionary sponsors. these are the national philanthropic leaders in education reform, and they support the work of the foundation for excellence in education all throughout the years. and it's because of their dedicated support that more children have access to a high quality education. i thank you very, very much. i'd also like to thank -- [applause] >> our summit event sponsors. these are the folks that pay for this conference where we are able to gather all these wonderful policymakers together.
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including the bradley foundation -- [inaudible] >> we will leave this coverage of our education summit at this point. it will continue with remarks of former white house season staff john podesta and preceding former sec of state condoleezza rice, former chancellor of the newark city public school joel klein. that will be online at c-span.org. we do have more live coverage coming up today on the c-span networks. at 10 a.m. on c-span former senators trent lott and byron dorgan will lead a discussion on u.s. energy policy. at the national press club. the leaders are currently co-chairs of the bipartisan policy center's energy project. topics will include development and domestic gas and oil production, energy security threats and environmental challenges. that would be like at 10 a.m. eastern again on our companion
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network c-span. at 11:30 a.m. majority whip dick durbin will talk about the so-called fiscal cliff and deficit reduction at the center for american progress. fiscal cliff, a combination of those expiring tax provisions and budget cuts that could take place the beginning of the new you. they include the bush-era tax cuts and sequestration. live coverage starts at 1130 eastern also on c-span. we are likely to about the fiscal cliff during the senate session today getting underway at 10 a.m. eastern, just over a half hour from now. after the gavel and majority leader reid will be recognized to speak and will likely outlined the schedule for the day which could include debate on defense programs and policy, and possibly legislation to do with equal rights, people with disabilities. centers will us from 12:30-2:15 eastern for weeks the party meetings. live coverage of the senate and members gavel in right here on c-span2. right now some debate from the floor of the senate yesterday
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between majority leader reid and republican leader mitch mcconnell. d, w they talkede about potentialit't changes to filibuster rules. here's some of what they had to say. >> i'd like to turn to anotheras issue that doesn't grab as manyt utadlines as these others we'veb been focus on the last few days o the mortal threat that has been quietly gathering against one of the most cherished safeguards of our government. i'm referring to the latest effort by some on the other side, most of whom have never served a day in the minority, to force a change in senate rules at the beginning of the new year that would fundamentally change the character of the senate. this is no exaggeration. what these democrats have in mind is a fundamental change to the way the senate operates for the purpose of consolidating their own power and further marginalizing the minority voices the senate was built to protect. in the name of efficiency, their plan is to use a heavyhanded tactic that would poison party
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relations even more. in the name of efficiency, they would prevent the very possibility of compromise and threaten to make the disputes of the past few years look like mere pillow fights. to understand why, let me explain in a little more detail what's being proposed. what this small group of primarily senate sophomores is now proposing is that when the senate gavels in at the beginning of the new congress, a bare majority of senators can disregard the rule that says changes to the senate's rules can only be approved on the same broad bipartisan basis we reserve for approving treaties and overriding presidential vetoes, a supermajority-plus. lyndon johnson once said of the 67-vote threshold for changes to the rules that it -- quote -- "preserves indisputably the character of the senate as the one continuing body in our policy making process."
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end quote. and senator reid himself once described changing the senate procedure by majority fiat as -- quote -- "breaking the rules to change the rules." end quote. what's being proposed now would undermine the very purpose of the senate as the one place in our system where minority views and opinions have been respected and heard, and in most cases incorporated into law. until now you could say that protecting the rights after political minority have always been a defining characteristic of the senate. that's why members of both parties have always that is why members of both parties have always defended them, whether they were in the majority or the minority. because they knew the senate was last legislative check against the kind of raw exercise of power majority parties have always been tempted to wield. the congressional record contains mountains of reverential statements by
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republicans and democrats extolling the near sacred character of the senate as the one legislative body on earth that protect minority views from minority want but minority rule and require supermajority for anything significant to become law. why is that? so the majority's can't simply roll over those who disagree with them and just as importantly so majority party are forced to resolve the great issues of a moment in the middle. insuring stability and permanence. it is this mechanism that has frustrated majority party's over the years but which has been shored at least most of the time that our laws are stable and not subject to change every time the parties change power. this is what makes the senate different. this is what makes this body great. up until recently many of those who want to change these rules agree with what they said. a few years ago have already
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indicated the majority leader is one of the staunchest defenders of the senate's protection of minority rights for all reasons i mentioned. just to recklessly throw those rules away and his own solemn pledges to defend them. on december 8th, 2006, majority leader made a public pledge to fight all efforts to change rules protecting the minority once he became the majority leader. it is a pledge he repeated during another proposed rules change two years ago, and as the majority leader said that day, in light of his words, a hard to believe what he is proposing to do now. here is what he said, as majority leader i intend to run the senate with respect for the rules and minority rights the rules are designed to protect. the set was not established to be efficient. sometimes the rules get in the
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way of the efficiency. the senate was established to make sure minorities are protected. minorities can always protect themselves, senator reid said, but minorities cannot. that is what the senate is all about. for 200 years the rules of the senate have protected the american people and rightfully so. to muster 60 votes to terminate senate debate naturally frustrates the minority and oftentimes the minority. it will frustrate me when i assume the office of majority leader nephew weeks. it is the tool that serve the long-term interest of the senate and the american people and our country. and the system of wise restraints that set them free, the senate rules, and will do my part as majority leader to foster respect for the rules and
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traditions of our great institution. i say on the floor that i love so much that i believe in the golden rule. and retreat republican colleagues the way i expect to be treated. there is no i have got you, no get even. i am going to do everything i can to preserve the traditions and rules of this institution that i love. and to end the quote, from my friend the majority leader just a few years ago, he acknowledge the senate was not established to be efficient but rather to make sure minorities are protected and with this fundamental purpose of the senate in mind he pledged he would do everything he could to preserve the traditions and rules of this institution that he loves. it is hard to imagine a clearer pledge than that and i am afraid going back on it now would have such a corrosive effect on comedy that it would threaten
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our ability to get anything accomplished around here. the rules change is being proposed, not an affront to me or the republican party, it is an affront to the american people. it is an effort and an affront to the people who sent me and the other 46 republicans to represent them in the senate but whose voices would be shut out if the majority leader and a cohort of short-sighted senate sophomore's have their way and permanently change this body. at the moment, republicans represent the voters of 31 states representing a total population of 1 hundred eighty million americans shutting off our right to express the views of our constituents as being proposed would effectively shut these people out of the process. the majority leader and his cohort of senators who don't
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understand what the senate was intended for are proposing would guarantee the one sure means our constituents have of being heard in washington would be gone. if a bare majority can proceed to any bill it chooses and what is on the bill, the majority leader by himself and shut out all amendments not disliking, then those who elected us to advocate for their views will have lost their voice in this legislative process. this is something the majority leader used to understand, protecting the rights of the minority party meant protecting the right of the people who sent us here to be heard in washington. he understood the importance of defending the minority view when he was in the minority but now are a that he has been in the majority he seems to have conveniently forgotten all of that. the people of kentucky elected we to republican senators to the senate. the majority leader thinks the
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views of the people of kentucky shouldn't be heard? does he think nevada to send senator heller to the senate shouldn't be heard? does he believe on the day he finds himself in the minority once again that he should no longer be heard? does he think democrats will remain in the majority from now until the end of time? for the past several years many of us on the republicans' side of great loud objections to the diminished rights of the minority to participate in the legislative process around here. democratic leaders have tried in more ways than one to silence those they disagree with. they have blocked members including our committee chairman from expressing themselves that committee through unprecedented use of senate rules 14 which allows them to bypass committees altogether and they blocked members from expressing themselves on the floor through unprecedented use of filling the amendment tree which prevents
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the senate from considering amendments the majority leader doesn't like. no amendments in committee, no amendments on the floor. the majority leader made this clear to john mccain in a remarkable moment of candor when he bragged of mack the amendment days are over. he preferred to write legislation in the confines of his conference room rather than in the public eye as he did most famously with the drafting of obamacare. i say to everyone if you want more legislation around here crafted that way, the way that bill was crafted, you ought to be pretty enthusiastic about what the majority leader's proposing because that is where this is headed. more authoritarianism, more secrecy and even less input from rank-and-file members on both sides of the aisle. as i say we have protested all this and spoken out loudly
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against these abuses of the senate but the majority leader wants to go even further. doesn't propose to simply abuse the rules but to break the rules and his own public pledge to defend those rules that all costs. make no mistake. what the majority leader is proposing is a senate where the only rule is his whim. the rest of us are bystanders including members of his own party. democrats really want to go down this road? they really think they are going to be in the majority forever? we have got members here from both parties who used to serve in the house. democrats and republicans, who say to me they thought the senate was different. i don't care whether you are a republican or democrat. you came to the senate because you knew that here you could make a difference for your
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constituents. here you would be heard. here you could offer amendments. here's the minority was protected. hear the majority leader had to work with the other side. what even senate democrats have discovered over the past few years was a very different place. place where committees no longer matter, where members of both parties are shut out of the debate and bills are drafted behind closed doors, politicians trade favors in secret extend the divisions that exchanging ideas in public just to get legislation across the finish line. i come to the senate every day. i know i work in a body of people who have different views than i do about the role of government and the best solutions for the problems we face but i know the price of
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belonging to this place is to hear the mouth and vote on their ideas and the price of belonging here is they have to do the same thing. the american people need to know what is going on here and republicans and hopefully many democrats who care about this institution rather than some temporary exercise of raw partisan political power will come forward over the next few weeks and speak against this naked power grab and when they do i hope they will be guided by the words of another former democratic senator who said the following about the senate and its uniqueness. this is what this former democratic senator said. the american people sent us here to be their voice. they understand these voices can at times be allowed and
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argumentative but they also hope we can disagree without being disagreeable. at the end of the day they expect both parties to work together to get the people's business done but they do not expect for one party, be it republican or democrat, to change the rules in the middle of the game so they can make all the decisions while the other party is told to sit down and keep quiet. the american people want less partisanshipped in this town but everyone in this chamber knows of the majority chooses to end the filibuster, if they choose to change the rules and put an end to democratic debate than the fighting, the bitterness, and the gridlock will only get worse. that senate democrat was president obama. i don't often agree with president obama on matters of
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policy and the issue he was referring to here was different than this one, but the principle he expressed in defending his position then is one that i believe in wholeheartedly. let me sum it up this way. for the sake of this institution and the future of the country, i implore members on both sides to oppose this naked power grab strenuously and loudly. it may be the most important thing you ever do. because the debates of the moment are passing but the senate must endure. and nothing less is at stake. mr. president, i yield the
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floor. >> republican leader, absolutely true, i follow the golden rule and it is very clear what has happened during this congress we can go over all the numbers and really project what happened about the hundreds and hundreds of times we have been forced to file cloture on relatively meaningless things my friend the republican leader thinks changing rules can make the senate more efficient as an assault on minority rights. the fact that the response to abuse of the filibuster by senate republicans. he is talking about getting rid of the filibuster, i or no one on the democratic side has proposed getting rid of the filibuster. what we have proposed, making this place more efficient. we had a run at this two years ago, we had a gentleman's
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agreement, the motion to proceed would be filibustered warily, every time a bill came up, that simply didn't work. just like we do filibusters on motion to proceed period. and these are just common sense, mr. president. americans believe congress is broken. the only ones who disagree are mitch mcconnell and republicans in congress. the american people know that democrats and republicans, this place is not working and their need to be changes, and we need to get some legislation passed. paulino during lyndon johnson's six years, in the same position at the end of this year, i have faced 386 filibusters. it keeps going up because we had
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a couple more very recently. today it takes more than a week, takes ten days to even begin considering a bill before we are on the bill. not actually trying to pass the legislation. time to get the senate working again. not for the good of the democratic majority or future republican majority but the good of the country and these plaintive cries to the filibuster, simply isn't true and mr. president, the filibuster, i believe the minority rights, the filibuster is not part of them -- constitution, something we developed here to help get legislation passed. now is being used to stop legislation from happening so mr. president, we are going to continue moving forward to make the senate more efficient. does that mean you will be really efficient?
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no. we are changing one aspect of the filibuster rule and that is we're going to change what takes ten days to simply get on the bill before we can start legislating. the american people know this is the right way to go. you only people who think the senate is working now with this obstruction at every step of the way are the republicans. i said this before. at huge change suggested in these walls that need to be changed, would in effect if i were in the minority the effect, i would have many opportunities to take care of the sparsely populated state of nevada and other issues i want to defend. but mr. president, we believe there should be one aspect of the senate that change and that is it should be a non debatable motion to proceed, simple as that and the american people agree. only ones who disagree, that think the senate is working well
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are the republican leader and those republicans in congress. >> the republican leader. >> the majority leader will stay on the floor and i gather the way the majority leader proposes to accentuate the rule change is to violate the current rule of the senate, to do it with a simple majority. you didn't address that issue. >> that statement is untrue and i don't accept that. >> i have the floor. that is the point. what the majority leader is saying is it will break rules of the senate in order to change the rules of the senate. it has been the case in the past that it took a supermajority of 67 which meant most rules change because we 2 leaders agreed to them and proposing an jointly. what the majority leader is saying is he will propose to change the rules with 51 votes
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meaning getting to decide what the rules are. the danger of that is what's a some -- the majority leader forever, and what if it is two years from now and one of my members save 51 democrats can change the rules of the senate why can't 51 republicans? why fiddle with these people in the minority? what is the point? why not just change the rules of the senate and turn the senate in to the house? that is why lyndon johnson felt so strongly a rule change should require a supermajority of 67, not simply, virtually guaranteeing any significant changes in the way the body operates i'd done on of bipartisan basis. further, the majority leader, a filibuster decides to file a
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cloture petition. which he routinely does on virtually every bill and then complains because we are reluctant to go to the bill without some assurance we are going to offer amendments. here is the way it works. the majority leader calls up a bill and files closure on a motion to proceed, we enter into a discussion in order to get some understanding we are going to have a chance to offer any amendments and the reason we engage in that discussion is throughout the last congress, kind of an unusual thing because as soon as you get on the bill the majority leader philippe the amendment free which means he alone gets to decide, he alone out of 100 of us gets to decide who gets to offer an amendment. he gets to pick our amendments for us. look. the motion to proceed has been
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an irritant to the majority leader. what i would have done is put somebody on the chair, keep the person objecting here all night and wear him down. we are almost never in at night. i can't remember the last time we had a vote on a friday. pretty easy working in the senate. because we never used the critiqued factor to accomplish things. we have had some examples, by the way, of doing a thing as a right way. we have three bill's earlier this year that believe it or not came out of committee, actually supported by democrats and republicans who work on the bill in committee. they came out on the floor open for amendment and past, postal reform, transportation bill, farm bill, all handled in a normal way we used to do every
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bill in the senate. the thing they had in common is they pass the senate. we don't have rules problem but a behavioral problem. when the majority leader believes that he gets to decide what happens on every bill, that is beyond the purview of the job that he holds. what we need to do is start operating in a normal fashion which respects the views and involvement of all members of the senate of the party's. is a little bit harder to engage in these discussions, yes, it is harder, but to go out and decide to break the rules, to change the rules because you might have to work a little harder to get where you are headed strikes me
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as a disservice to the institution, a disservice to the senate and no one is going to buy these notions about all these filibusters'. filing closure on a motion to proceed on day one and the reason he had to file cloture on a motion to proceed so frequently is because we can't get any assurance from the majority leader that we will allow any amendments. that is the problem. we need to behave differently. that is the way to get a place functioning again. mr. president -- >> majority leader. >> i have the pleasure of serving one of the great senators in the history of this country, daniel patrick moynihan of new york. he said people are entitled to own opinions but not their own facts and that is what my friend republican leader has his own set of facts which the law the record that speaks for the american people.
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ironic republican leader complains about changing senate rules. ironic because he has been up for front of abusing these rules for the past six years. it is ironic because when he was in the majority seven years ago he sought to change the rules to streamline votes on judicial nominations. he was part of that program and it is ironic because he is one of a small group of people who think the senate is working just fine. rules change around here. they change. it used to be to cut off a filibuster took 67 votes. the senate change that because it became too burdensome. mr. president, i have said on many occasions, in public gatherings and private gatherings, these minor changes i am suggesting wouldn't affect
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anyone that had the thought of making america better, to stop a filibuster on a motion to proceed to a bill takes ten days just to get on a bill? i don't think that is good. we need to change that. so mr. president -- >> on that point -- >> i would be happy to in one second. also, he keeps talking about not following rules, we are following the constitution of the united states making these changes and that is appropriate. >> if this is such a reasonable rule change will not work to propose a on a joint basis objected to the 61 vote threshold that would honor the tradition, the senate is a continuous body, as rules go from congress to congress. that is what has been unique about the way rule changes have been done around here. >> mr. president. >> one further question.
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how would you feel if two years ago the industry to years from now i have your job and we say get rid of the filibuster with 51 votes. >> that would be wrong but we are not trying to get rid of the filibuster. what we are doing is changing a tiny aspect of what goes on around here so that people would have to do a couple things. one is not filibuster, simply getting on a bill, and if they want to filibuster, talk about it, not be in your office some place. senator durbin reminded meh weee left. went back to a wedding in his state. mr. president, i repeat for the third time, the only people that think the senate's working really well right now are the republican leader and the republican senators, because it's not working well. they've abused the process. they've abused something that was set up to help legislation
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get passed. the filibuster. they've abused it. and now the filibuster is on everything. they can talk all they want about filling the amendment tree and all that. that is so -- mr. president, that has no bearing on what's going on around here. we have -- we try to get things done. the defense bill is a good example. i said let's move to the defense bill. they objected to it. they have been talking about it for months. i agreed to move to it, no preconditions at well right now i've read no preconditions at all. we have to do other things. we have a short period of time now and everything around here is being stalled and he talks about getting bills done. mr. president, this congress has gotten almost nothing done. we struggled through -- dealing with contraception, and work
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through that. and houses put that on their garbage pile and nothing happened with that and farm bills, we got almost nothing done because we have spent weeks, weeks getting on a bill so we can start legislating. mr. president, the republican leader thinks things are going on well here, he is in a distinct minority because things are not going well around here. an example i repeat, lyndon johnson, one cloture, harry reid, 386. that says it all. >> mr. president. >> a republican leader. >> when i quote the majority leader are using the exact words which i did throughout my comment. he makes up words for me. i never said the senate is working fine. the senate has been disastrously wrong for the last two years,
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disastrously wrong. not because of the rules but because of the operations and certainly not the fault of the republicans. take the budget for example which can be done with a simple majority, we haven't had a budget in three years. the law says you are supposed to pass a budget. doesn't say don't pass a budget if you don't want to. don't pass the budget if you might have to offer amendments, it doesn't say don't pass a budget if you might have to negotiate with the republican house. it says pass a budget. we haven't called up a single appropriation bill. if one senator has a problem going into a bill, while quotron motion to proceed. has the majority leader done that on the defense bill would have been approved overwhelmingly. he could have done on a friday and would have been approved on a monday. the obstructionism he complains about is pretty easily overcome
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if you are willing to make the place work a little bit. most people work monday through friday. not us. the senate used to be a nocturnal place because majority leaders of both parties would use the fatigue factor to grind down opposition coming from a few people. we almost never do that. don't get me wrong. i say to my friend i am not defending the way this place has been run the last two years. it has been embarrassing. i have to apologize to my constituents for the way the place is run. we have the same rules in earlier congresses and didn't have the same problem and we have always had a few members on each side who wanted to exercise every one of their rights. i remember when i got here, senator metzenbaum from ohio, would read every bill. he was a big problem.
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we didn't try to change the rules. we worked this place. and so look, what the majority leader continues to leave out is not only the rule he wants to change but the way he wants to change it. the way he wants to change it. he wants to establish the precedent that 51 senators can change the rules anytime they want to to take away the rights of everybody else which will fundamentally change this institution. no senator should buy the argument this is just a little change about the motion to proceed. this is about the way rules will be changed in the senate. no longer a 67 vote threshold bringing in the two leaders and members together to agree to rule changes but any time on any
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whim any majority leader want to change the rules 51 votes. this is no small matter, this is a big issue about the future of this country and how this institution ought to be operating. being majority leader is a tough job. you have cantankerous members on both sides who want to exercise their rights. it has always been that way. but the way you get past it is you work the place. you make it function. you talk to people. you treat them with respect. the collegiality we used to have in this body has faded. faded because of the arrogance of power exercised by some.
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all of this is correctable. we are all human beings trying to do our best, trying to leverage the place in one way or another to take some of vantage but that is the way the senate has always been. what i think we need is an attitude change. the election is behind us. whenever short-term advantage the majority may have felt it had by protecting its members from voting on almost everything is over. we don't need to have perpetual election in the country. we have huge issues. >> debate from yesterday on the senate floor and we expect to hear again from majority minority leaders in the senate shortly after the session gavels in this morning at 10:00 eastern a moment from now. senators may debate defense, legislation dealing with people rights for persons with disabilities at 12:30 break for their weekly party lunch until 2:15. also u.n. ambassador susan rice on capitol hill meeting with key
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legislators, she continues a bid to become the next secretary of state. on the list this morning senators john mccain, lindsey graham and callie ayat. that will start at 9:30 this morning. live to the senate floor.
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the presiding officer: the senate will come to order. the chaplain, dr. barry black, will lead the senate in prayer. the chaplain: let us pray. eternal god, the source of our joy, thank you for this opportunity to call on your name. you have sustained this nation through the seasons of its existence, and we're depending on you, lord, to guard our future with your might. as our senators seek to do the work of freedom, deepen their love for those on life's margins. give our law marks this day the gift of your spirit as they give thanks to you in all things.
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lord, we believe that you will lead us through all our tomorrows, as you have led us through our yesterdays. we pray in your merciful name. amen. the presiding officer: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to the flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. the presiding officer: the clerk will read a communication to the senate. the clerk: washington, d.c, november 27, 2012. to the senate: under the provisions of rule 1,
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paragraph 3, of the standing rules of the senate, i hereby appoint the honorable christopher a. coons, a senator from the state of delaware, to perform the duties of the chai. signed: daniel k. inouye, president pro tempore. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i now move to proceed to calendar number 419, s. 3254, the defense authorization bill. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to calendar number 419, s. 3254, a bill to authorize aeption prosecutes for fiscal year 2013 for military activities in the department of defense and so forth and for other purposes. mr. reid: we're going to recess, as we normally do on tuesdays, from 12:30 to 2:15 to allow for our weekly caucus meetings. we're going to begin consideration of the belise treaty this afternoon. we'll either do that with a vote or with permission. it is a simple majority vote to notify this most important piece of legislation. mr. president, i'm told that
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s. 3637 is due for its second reading and is at the desk. officer the clerk will read the title of the bill for the second time. the clerk: a bill to temporarily extend the transaction account guarantee program and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president, i would object to any other proceedings with respect to this bill at this time. officer objection is heard. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bill will be placed on the calendar. mr. reid: i appreciated that. this is one of the must-do pieces of legislation we have to do before this calendar year ends. i now ask unanimous consent that john daily, a state department detailee, to the foreign relations committee, be given floor privileges during the belise treaty. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, too often it is a challenge to find common ground here in washington. as we negotiate a path back from the fiscal cliff, we should also recognize when democrats and republicans agree.
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we agree taxes should not go up for anyone making less than $250,000 a year. 97% of small businesses and 98% of middle-class families would benefit from that. with common ground in sight, we should be able to act today to avert the fiscal cliff for millions of families and businesses. even if we disagree on whether to extend tax breaks for the wealthiest 2% of americans, we should agree to hold the middle class harmless and do it today, do it mao. a single vote in the house of representatives would get the job done now. unfortunately, there's one obstacle standing between congress and a compromise: grover norquist. for years, no norquist has bulld lawmakers. his brand of ideological extremism has been bad for congress and even worse for the congress. so i was pleased to see republicans in congress distance themselves from norquist this week. i appreciate that etch have.
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and so do the american people. and i'm sure their constituents do. several republican lawmakers have said revenue should be on the table during fiscal cliff negotiations. how common sense is that? it is absolutely clear to everyone except grover norquist. it is time now for those republicans to turn this happy talk into actions. presidenactions in the last year of president obama's campaign, that's what he talked about. americans when they voted raised their voices and supported our pledge. congress must act in accordance with the will of the american people. an agreement to avoid the fiscal cliff must give economic certainty to middle of-class families. it must protect american families still struggling from this resession. it must take a balanced approach to reduce spending but must also
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ask the richest of the rich to pay a little bit extra. any balance agreement will require difficult concessions from both sides. mr. president, i said "both sides." clinging to the kind of ideological purity that grover norquist peddles is easy. cooperating with those you disagree with is hard. legislating is hard. as we approach the fiscal cliff, democrats are ready to make those tough choices. i hope my republican freandzs, theespecially those who claim ty put mo claim before their pledge can say the same.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: yesterday i came to the floor to discuss what's known as the fiscal cliff, a mix of automatic tax hikes and defense cuts that are set to hit at the end of the year jeopardizing our security as well as our economy. my message was pretty simple. a solution is possible. republicans have been reasonable and president needs to lead. he is the only one who can get us to a solution. if that's what he wants, we'll succeed. so it was with some concern that i read this morning that the president plans to hit the road next week to drum up support for his own personal approach to the short- and long-term fiscal challenges we face. in other words, rather than sitting down with lawmakers of both parties and working out an agreement, he's back on the campaign trail, presumably with the same old talking points that we're all quite familiar with, but we already know the president is a very good
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campaigner. we congratulate him on his reelection. what we don't know is whether i has the leadership qualities necessary to lead his party to a bipartisan agreement on big issues like we currently face. so let me suggest that if the president wants a solution to the challenges of the moment, the people needs to be talking to are members of his own party so he can convince them of the need to act. we're not going to solve this problem by creating villians and drumming up outrage. we'll solve the problem by doing the hard work of sitting down, figuring out a solution that involves tough choices on all sides. which gets at another point i made yesterday: in the past democrats have demanded tax hikes now for spending cuts that never actually happened. not this time. a balanced approach means real spending reductions now. now, i'm not saying this because
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if the republicans' position -- though it is -- i'm not saying it because i have anything against the government -- which i don't -- i'm saying is because it's the only approach that has any chance of working. no credible deficit-reduction plan we've seen over the past few years excludes real cuts. and if we want to prevent this crisis, democrats need to be as serious about cutting spending as they are about spending. it's that simple. and by the way this is an approach americans overwhelmingly support. according it a recent a.p. poll, voters prefer spending cuts to tax hikes, 62% to 29%, a more thank two-to-one margin. there is a reason for this. the american people aren't stupid. they know the problem with washington isn't that it taxes too little but that it spends too much. the only reason we're talk about a many looing fisca looming fisw
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is because the democrats spend the last years creating it. i want to talk about how we got into this mess in the first place because amidst all the talks about plans and proposals, it's easy to forget that we didn't get here by accident. we got here because washington democrats, from the president on down, have done two things exceedingly well over the past four years: spend other people's money and kick the can down the road. spend other people's money and kick the can down the road. for four years democrats spent money we didn't have in the misguided hope -- the misguided hope that it would help the economy. trillions of dollars to keep unemployment right where it was when we started. and here's what we have four years later: be a mountain of debt and a looming national budgetary budget.
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so republicans are happy to talk about how to solve this mess but make no mistake will also talk about how we got here. washington democrats have spent money without any care for the cost or the future. and refuse to do anything to protect long-term spending programs like medicare, a failure that's among the biggest single drivers of our debt. all this reflects a very clear physical loss if i. for washington democrats, every dollar that's ever been secured for anything is sacred. every dollar that's ever been secured for anything is sacred. and they'll defend it to the death, regardless of what it means for jobs or the economy. but those days are over, because you don't eliminate trillion-dollar deficits by taxing the rich, not even close. it may be an effective talking point, but as a matter of policy, it is a minor deal. and the democrats know t so woos
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we move into the final stretch, it is time to put the talking points away and get serious about striking a deal. the first step to recovery is to admit you got a problem. and if borrowing 40 cents for every dollar you spend doesn't convince you, frankly, i don't know what will. if democrats can't admit that we've got a spending problem, they immediate t need to talk tr constituents more. they need to get real. and that means changing the way things have been done around here for the past few years. independent budget experts have been telling us for ages that our long-term budget deficits are driven by the unsustainable health care entitlements. what was the administration's response to that in? their response was to add trillions more by creating an entirely new health care entitlement program. we were promised that the president's health care law would reduce health care costs.
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what did it do? we're now told health care costs will rise as a share of our economy and the taxpayers' liability. by one estimate those costs will go up by more than half a trillion dollar over the next ten years. we know that the number of americans 65 or older will increase by one-third over the next ten years. according to the census bureau, there were 40 million older americans in 2010. there will be 54 million of them a decade after that. and more than 72 million older americans a decade after that. what are the democrats doing to ensure that the programs they rely upon will actually be there? we can't ignore the facts. we need to prepare for the demographic changes we know are coming. medicare is simply too important for millions of seniors to let it continue down the road to i
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insolve have einsolvency. as congress looks for savings, we need to look at the new health care entitlements, too. while democrats and republicans may disagree on obamacare, it is ridiculous to suggest that we make changes to medicare and medicaid while leaving $1.6 trillion in new obamacare spending untouched. for four years democrats have been completely unbalanced in the way they've spent taxpayer dollars. yet now that the crisis is upon us, they advise us that we need to be balanced in our solution. this is how you ensure the expansion of government. this is how you end up with $16 trillion of debt. but it's not how you get out of it. it's not how you solve the problem. you solve the problem by taking tough medicine and tough votes. you solve it by doing something
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different. you solve it with the help of a president who's willing to lead his party. you don't just change your rhetoric and your talking points while telling your base behind closed doors you aren't going to give any ground. you change your bor behavior. and for democrats in washington, that means getting serious for a change about cuts. a time for campaigning is over. it's time to act. now, mr. president, on another matter, yesterday the majority leader and i had a rather spirited discussion of the intention to change the senate rules outside the process provided in those rules. when he was in the minority, my friend from nevada objected strenuously to the very procedure he now wants to
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employ. he called using a simple majority maneuver to change senate procedure the -- quote -- "nuclear option." end quote. and he described it as i ca as g the rules to change the rules. now that he's in the majority, he cases the ends justify the -- he says the ends justify the means. he says we have to make the senate nor efficient and violate the senate rules to do so. so that he and his colleagues in the majority can implement more easily their vision for america. according to him, these minor changes won't affect anyone that has the thought of making america better. let me say that again. the majority leader said these minor changes won't affect anyone that has the thought of maying america better. now, of course, in the majority leader's world, it will be just he and his colleagues who determine what makes america better. in short, according to my friend
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from nevada, the means by which he wants to achieve his ends don't matter. only his ends matter. that's pretty convenient if you happen to be in the majority at the moment. i say again, "at the moment." but convenience or efficiency, as my friend has described it, is not what the senate has been about. my friend, the majority leader, may have put it best in 2006 when he made the first of his commitments to respect the rights of the minority. quote -- this is what the i don't recall said: "as majority leader, i intend to run the senate with respect for the rules and the minority rights the rules protect. the senate was not staked t estd to be efficient. sometimes the rules get in the way of efficiency. the senate was established to make sure that minorities are protected. majorities can always protect themselves, but minorities cannot. that is what the senate is all about.
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close quote. he then committed that he was going to treat my republicans colleagues the way i expect to be treated and he would do everything he could to preserve the rules of the institution that i love. that was senator reid. inaccurately describing the essence and wise purpose of the senate, the majority leader sounded a lot like robert c. byrd. so i was quite surprised to hear our friend from nevada assert that senator byrd would actually support the heavy-handed tactic he intends to employ. now, i am eight noing if to correct all the inaccuracies my friend made yesterday, like saying four times that it takes ten days to get on a bill. i don't know what version of rid dick's my friend has been reading, but if it did, i might support some rule changes myself. but i must disabuse my friend of his belief about how senator byrd would view the tactic he
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intends to employ. unlike the majority leader, i recall when our late colleague spoke on this topic at the rules committee hearing, the last time the majority leader entertained breaking the rules to change the rules and senator byrd was unequivocally against violating arsenate rules to change the rus the way the current majority leader is proposing. senator byrd began by noting, "our founding fathers intended the senate to be a continuing body that allows for open and unlimited debate and the protection of minority rights. senators have understood that" he stated," since the senate first conveniented." that's senator byrd on the history of the senate. senator byrd also noted that at the constitutional convention james madison recorded that the 1245senate was to be a necessary fence in order to protect the people against their rulers and to protect the people against
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the transient impressions into which they themselves might be led." so how did senator byrd view the filibuster in the role of the senate? how did it relate to the senate as a necessary fence i? senator byrd said the right to filibuster anchors this necessary fence. now, senator byrd acknowledged that this right should not be tions as to what we should do if it is abused. he recounted procedures that currently exist under the rules. i say procedures that currently exist under the rules to address it if it is. and i suggested yesterday senator byrd also indicated that simply working a full week, like most people do -- most people in america have a five-day workweek. senator byrd also indicated by simply working a full week, we could address some of these concerns.
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senator byrd bemoaned the fact that the senate often works three-day weeks. in other words, if you want the senate to be more productive, start working more. it's not rocket science here. that's what senator byrd was saying. but senator byrd was clear about what we should never do, never do. he said we must never, ever tear down the only wall, the necessary fence this nation has against the excesses of the executive branch and the result of haste and tyranny of the majority. senator byrd, as we know, was a historian. he was a skillful majority leader who understood the unique importance of the senate and the need of a majority leader to keep his commitment, but he was also a political realist who had been around enough to understand that political majorities are fleeting. and if you break the rules to suit your political purposes of the moment, you may regret having done so when you find yourself in the minority.
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senator byrd specifically said said -- quote -- "i strongly caution my colleagues as some propose to alter the rules to severely limit the ability of the minority to conduct a filibuster. i know what it is to be in the majority and wake up on a wednesday morning in november and find yourself a minority leader. to make sure there was no doubt as to his views on the subject, senator byrd concluded by unequivocally objecting to the use of the nuclear option that the senator from nevada is now proposing. he said the rules committee must, however, jealously guard against efforts to change or reinterpret senate rules by a simple majority, circumventing rule 22 where a two-thirds majority is required. so my friend, the majority leader, is no more correct about senator byrd's views on the nuclear option, on the idea of breaking the rules to change the rules, than he is about taking
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ten days to get on a bill. now, i will conclude by reading what are likely the last words senator byrd spoke on the subject of the nuclear option. and i encourage my colleagues to reflect on his wise counsel. this is what he said. "as i have said before, the senate has been the last fortress of minority rights and freedom of speech in the republic for more than two centuries. i pray that senators will pause and reflect before ignoring that history and tradition in favor of the political priority of the moment." . the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: to paraphrase shakespeare, which i don't do often, i think the republican leader protests far too much. now he's gone back quoting senator byrd.
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mr. president, the situation that we had when the republicans were trying to change the rules regarding judges is totally different than what's happened on the floor in the last few years. you see, what democrats are proposing to do to help repair the senate is pretty much what senator mcconnell said was necessary in 2005. for example, senator mcconnell has said that the senate has repeatedly adjusted its rules as circumstances dictate. let me quote him. in remarks on the senate floor, in may of 2005, here is what senator mcconnell said." despite the incredulous protestations of our democratic colleagues, the senate has repeatedly adjusted its rules as circumstances dictated. the first senate adopted its rules by majority vote, rules i might add which specifically provided a means to end debate instantly by simple majority vote. that was the first senate way back at the beginning of our country. that was senate rule 8, the
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ability to move the previous question, end of debate, end of quote. mr. president, let me repeat some of the things that he said. quote -- "despite the incredulous protestations of our democratic colleagues, the senate has repeatedly adjusted its rules as circumstances dictate." the same day, senator mcconnell also reported that the senate has often reformed senate procedure by a simple majority vote. when republicans were in the majority, senator mcconnell said this, and i quote -- "this is not the first time a minority of senators has upset a senate tradition of practice, and the current senate majority intends to do what a majority in the senate has often done -- use its constitutional authority under article 1, section 5, to reform senate procedure by a simple majority vote. on march 27 of 2005, senator mcconnell told fox news that the senate can change the rules with 51 votes. mcconnell said, and i quote -- "well, obviously, you would need 51 votes to do it.
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i'm confident we would have 51 votes if the majority leader decided to do it. i believe it should be done if we cannot get accommodations from the democrats." so what has changed, mr. president, in the last few years since those statements were made? well, for one thing, under leader mcconnell, republican senators have mounted filibusters so much more on a regular basis. now, mr. president, we talked here yesterday about the motions to proceed that -- i had a meeting this morning with one senator who has been in the senate for 30 years. he said why are you only changing the rules this much? mr. president, look how simple the rule changes are that we're making. motions to proceed. now, let's talk about that. i have a piece of legislation on the floor, as we have on a number of occasions. that has to sit for a couple of days. once that happens and they won't let us on the bill, i have to
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file cloture. let's say i can do that on a wednesday after the bill lays there for a couple of days. so we can have a friday cloture vote. but, mr. president, you know, having been here not very long, you know that's not the end of it. we got cloture but we really haven't because there is 30 hours of idle time to do zero, nothing. and then after the 30 hours, you're on the bill, and to get off the bill, you have to go through the same process again. i talked to three republican senators yesterday, and they said explain that to me. i said well, for the approximately nine or ten days that we waste on getting on a bill, we could -- if we actually -- you guys let us on a bill, we could be offering amendments for four or five days instead of waiting for 30 hours to expire and all that. and also we have this crazy idea, mr. president, that if we're going to have a filibuster, you have to stand and say something, not hide in
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your office someplace or go to a wedding that you're having in your state. and then we also are doing the incredulous thing of saying if we want to go to conference on a bill, rather than having three filibusters necessary overcome with cloture, we would do it once. those are the simple changes we are making. and senator mcconnell was right when he said that despite the incredulous protestations of our democratic colleagues, the senate has repeatedly adjusted its rules as circumstances dictate. we are making simple changes. we're not changing the constitution. we're not getting rid of the filibuster. we're not doing -- we're making three simple rules, as my friend, the democratic senator from new mexico, who is retiring after having been here 30 years, says why is that all you're doing? under leader mcconnell, republicans have mounted filibusters on things that don't matter. the motion to proceed, he says
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well, that allows us to get -- i'm paraphrasing -- that allows us to get set and have some idea of what's going to happen on the bill itself. mr. president, that's nonsense. it's only as the leaders indicated at the beginning of this congress, his number-one goal is to defeat president obama. we have been able to get nothing done because of that. the american people are sick of it. the 109th congress from 2005 to 2006, when the republicans were in the majority, there were very few filibusters. in the next congress, when the roles were reversed, the republicans, they've done -- i give this example which is so understandable to everybody. lyndon johnson, majority leader for six years -- i will be at the end of this year -- one cloture petition. me, i think we're up to about 386 now. this congress we have -- we've
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had 110 filibusters and we have weeks to go and you saw in "the new york times," oh, he's filled the legislative tree. "the new york times" reported i did that 19 times. 110 filibusters? and had they let us get on a bill, there wouldn't be any need to fill the tree. we could have spent that time having amendments. so the republicans have increased the numbers of filibusters so ous out of propon to any changes here in the senate. it is hard to comprehend. the senate is not working as it should. everyone in the america -- and that's kind of an exaggeration. i acknowledge that. maybe not everyone. but, mr. president, as i travel the country trying to get my candidates get elected and raise money, what are you going to do to change the filibuster? this is awful what's going on is
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thawhat they say. they expect walkers the united states senate, to work like "mr. smit-- towork like mr. smio washington. we're not getting rid of that with regular filibusters but we're ge getting read of it wita motion to proceed. the senate isn't working. apart from senator mcconnell and his troops, basically everybody in america agrees the senate is not working. and the senate, as in any human snurks there will always be plenty of blame to go around. let's call it like it is. two longtime senate watchers -- thomas mann and norm ornstein, one representing a pregnantive think tank, another a conservative think tank. "we have been studying washington politics and congress nor than 40 years and never have
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we seen them this dysfunctional. in our past writings we've criticized both parties. today however we have no choice but to acknowledge that the core of the problem lies with the republican party." mr. president, i didn't make that up. they wrote it. two of the foremost congress watchers this country has ever had. that's what they wrote. objective outside observers are calling it like it is. the current republican minority is abusing the senate rules. and so in response, to quote senator mcconnell, "the current senate majority intend dozen what the majority in the senate has often done, use its constitutional authority to reform senate promoter we plan to do sow so to repair the senate. i'm sorry if people are criticizing me if we're not doing more. but we're doing enough. we get rid of the motion to proceed and have people come here and present their faces, as senator durbin said in a more
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explicit way, to put their rear ends in the senate rather than in some place outside capitol hill. mr. president, this is the right thing to do. we need to repair the senate. it is not working. and at the start of the next congress we intend to do our utmost to make some modest steps to make it work better. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the republican leader. mr. mcconnell: i certainly agree the senate isn't working. we get in a few days in between recesses and are rarely in at night, almost never do anything on thursday. that's entirely within the purview of the majority leader. now, it is true that a few years back when my party was in the majority, we contemplated chan changing the rules, but cooler heads prevailed and we didn't. the fundamental issue here my friend leaves out. he wants to break the rules to change the rules. in other words, he and i are not
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negotiating on these issues. he is deciding what will be the rule in the senate. he will break the rules in order to change the rules. now, that's all anybody listening to this debate needs to understand. what the majority leader is going to do here ssess a he -- ssess a going to break the -- is he's going to break the rules to change the rules. one party only. we ought to be negotiating rule changes. rule changes ought to be proposed by the majority leader and minority leader together. that would surpass the 67-vote threshold that is designed to protect the senate from the whims of new majorities. there's always a temptation when you are in the majority to want to changees rules to benefit yourself at the expense of others. it's particularly absurd to do it right now because anything the snoot gain, senate democrats
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would gain out of that would go nowhere in the house. there's no practical purpose served by this. all it does is put on the record the senate democrats as being willing to break the rules to change the rules. that's the fundamental issue. rule change ought to be negotiated by the two leaders. they have been down through the years proposed together. as i've indicated on several owe cautions, and i'll say again, think the frustrations that the majority has had could have been easily solved by putting some of his young members in the chair and breaking down some -- one person trying to make it difficult to get on to a bail. all of this could have been fixed. rather than complaining about it, just doing something about it. that's what i would have done if i had been in his shoes. but he's closen not to do that. the campaign is over. you guys a pretty good day.
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you're still in the majority. can't seem to turn the campaign off. just keep running it forever. so here we are with this explosive nuclear option being thrown into the chamber at a time when we ought to be turning the election off and trying to come together to solve the biggest problem, which i talked about first, which is the fiscal cliff and the nation's seemingly hopeless deficit and debt situation. that's what we ought to be doing. instead, my friends one the friy friends on the other side continue to celebrate the election. you won. now why don't we govern? and the way govern is to try to bring this body together. the senate has been built over the years on collegiality. we've always had some person neals on both sides who made it challenging for whoever the majority leader loved.
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i remember howard metzenbaum would sit out here on the floored and read every bill. apts he was a royal pain in the you know what to whoever the majority leader was at the time. well, the senate survived all that. didn't engage in a rules change dictated by whoever was in the majority at the moment. but, you know, this is exactly the wrong way to start off on a new year and end an old year with a ton of problems that we have to deal with. so here we are as a result of this suggestion that we employ a nuclear option argue about arcane rules changes when we ought to be sitting down together and trying to solve the nation's huge, huge deficit and debt problems. but the fundamental here is this: is the majority going to break
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the rules to change the rules? that's the issue before the senate. are we going to break the rules to change the rules, employ the nuclear option, fundamentally change the body, not have a negotiation between the two leaders about p what adjustments might be appropriate to make the senate work better. oh, no, we're going to do it on our own. i think it is a huge mistake, not only for the senate. but it will impact obviously our short-term ability to come together and work on the really big problems that the country sent us here to solve. the presiding officer: the 1kwr0r8. -- the majority. mr. reid: the republican leader is entitled to his own opinion but not his own facts. we seem to have a revision of the facts here that simile are not accurate. i served with senator metzenba metzenbaum.
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he good th understood the rules. we always worked through them. he slowed things down a bit, but that's what senators do. also, mr. president, remember who said that a simple majority would do it. mitch mcconnell. i'm not breaking rules to change the rules. "the first senate adopted its rules by majority vote which specifically provided a means to end debate inrestaurantly by a first debate." that was the first senate way back in the beginning of our country. i would also say -- mr. mcconnell: would the senator yield on that point? mr. reid: sure. mcbeing did the senate majority at the time made up of republicans choose to go forward and do that? mr. reid: yes. mr. mcconnell: we did not do t we did not use -- we did not use the nuclear option. there was a lot of discussion about it related to the judicial
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appointments. but in the end the majority chose not to do it. mr. reid: i respond to my friend, the point is, the rules have been changed by a simple majority for a long time. that's what senator mcconnell said in 2005 and that's accurate. i was also say this, mr. president, and i say this as respectfully as i can about the deceased, senator byrd. i think people who have served in the senate when senator byrd was around, people referred to me as his pet. okay? he took really good care of me. we had a relationship that was very unique. i cared a great deal about this man. but don't misquote him. mr. president, leader byrd made clear he is willing to force a majority vote if needed to. here's what he said, senator robert byrd. "the time has come to ink chai the rules.
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i want to thank them in an ordinarily position. i want a time agreement. barring that, if i have to be force nod a corner to try for majority vote, i will do it because i will do my duty whether i win or lose." i can see that man with his white hair standing straight and tall saying that. that is a direct quote from robert biempletd i am in the same position as he's in. the republicans have made the senate dysfunctional and i have asked my caucus to support me for some simple changes, 1eu78 -- simple change. the motion to proceed which was never abused until this congress by these republicans. we're going to change tax that's the way it should be. and talk about all the time that we're wastin wasting not talkint the fiscal cliff is poppycock. the republican leader is the one that's coming to the floor engaging in these conversations. not me.
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there's going to be into rule changes until the next congress. this isn't taking away from the fiscal cliff arguments and all that either side might have. so, mr. president, i would also say this: before coming here, i was a trial lawyer and proud of the fact that i was. tried lots of cases. had many, many jury trials, over 100. but, mr. president, i also settled hundreds and hundreds of cases. you never felt really comfortable going to trial because what we always want to do is try to settle the case before that. but even in the cases that we were forced to go trial, with rare, rare exception, the other side -- either plaintiff or defendant -- would come to you and say, why don't we try to work something out?
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here's my suggestion. this is a unique deal we have here. i have the republican leader saying, why doesn't he negotiate with us? mr. president, our proposal is there. simply change the motion to proceed, have a talking filibuster and do something about the way we go to conference. if the republican leader doesn't like that and has some other suggestion about how the rules should be changed, i'll be happy to talk to him. if he thinks things are hungy ambassadorry right now, he is in a distinct minority, as are other republicans in the senate. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, we all keep quoting senator byrd back and forth. but i think it is appropriate to look again at what he said in 2010. he said, "i believe that efforts to change our reinterpret the rules in order to facilitate expeditious action by a simple majority are grossly misguided. national is the only place in government where the rights of a numerical minority are so
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protected." and in my statement earlier, my prepared 125eu789, "he said before the rules committee, the rules committee must however jealously guard against efforts to reinterpret the senate rules circumventing rule 22 where a two-thirds majority is required." i keep coming back to this because it has to do with the way any rules change is implemented. that's the point here. the majority leader suggested, and i think it's appropriate, that we talk about rule changes together, but that's not what he's suggesting he's going to do here. he says he's going to change -- break the rules to change the rules, employ the nuclear option. that is not a negotiation with the minority overrules changes. what we ought to be doing is talking to each other about what adjustments in the rules we
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could advocate together. and not one party with a majority today that might be in a minority two years from now changing the rules, break the rules to change the rules for some kind of misguided, short-term advantage. that's the problem. so i would be happy to talk to the majority leader about these issues, but i vigorously oppose and i know senator byrd, i know senator byrd would vigorously oppose breaking the rules to change the rules. he was very clear about that in 2010. i know he would object to it. i hope somehow this nuclear option can be avoided. it seems to be -- to me to be an absolutely unnecessary distraction away from much larger issues confronting the future of our nation. mr. reid: mr. president, senator byrd served in the house of representatives and the senate
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for almost 60 years. he gave lots of speeches. i quoted what he said. i will quote again what he said -- part of what he said." the constitution in article 1, section 5, says each house shall determine the rules of its proceedings. now we're at the beginning of the congress. this congress is not obliged to be bound by the dead hand of the past." so, mr. president, this debate is not going to be solved by the deceased. it's going to be solved by us. we here in the senate today. and the senate has not been working, and no matter how many times the republican leader says he likes how things are today, it doesn't make it so that the majority of the senate likes how it is today. the facts are the facts. we can't make them up. the senate is not working, and we need to do something to fix it. i close then as i began. i would be happy to work with leader mcconnell about rules changes.
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i've made clear what we seek. i await his suggestions, as i repeat again what i said earlier -- a man who has served with distinction here in the united states senate, jeff bingaman -- who, by the way, is quite a legal scholar, having been attorney general before he came here, are why are we making -- asking for such modest changes? that's his question. so if the republican leader has some ideas as to what he thinks should be done, i will come to his office, we could do it privately or publicly. i'm happy to work with him. as i indicated, mr. president, that's how i used to do things when i tried cases. this is the same except we just have a bigger jury. i notice the absence of a quorum, mr. president. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. kyl: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. kyl: i ask that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. kyl: i'd like to continue the conversation that the two leaders were engaged in.
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the presiding officer: under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. under the previous order, the republicans control the first half, the senator from arizona is recognized. mr. kyl: thank you very much, mr. president. as i said, i just wanted to continue the conversation that our two leaders were engaged in earlier, and also on yesterday. this is going to be a very important issue for the senate. to put it into perspective for the american people, let me just say that a rules change in the senate is not a small matter or an inconsequential matter. it is even more important if it is attempted to be done without going through the normal process of changing the rules, which requires a two-thirds majority. this is important because the senate has always considered itself a continuing body. it does not end and then begin again as the house of representatives does because the house has an election every two years. in this body, members are elected for six-year terms, and as a result, every two years,
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you have some turnover in the body, but two-thirds of the body has already been here and continues forward. so the rules of the senate have always been continuing rules of the continuing body, amendable by a two-thirds majority of the body. to suggest a nuclear option by which a mere majority of the body can amend the rules is itself a violation of the rules. it's an assertion of power, but as the old saying goes, might does not make right, and the fact that the majority may have the power to overrule a ruling of the chair, thus establishing a new precedent and a new rule of the senate, does not make it right. and that's why it hasn't been done. in point of fact, there was a time a few years ago, as has been discussed, when the republican senate majority or at least some members of the senate republican majority were
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considering the use of the same parliament tactic to ensure a vote on nominees for the u.s. supreme court and also for the court of appeals. the feeling was that the democratic minority had filibustered over and over and over again and had prevented votes, i think, on miguel estrada, a very prominent member of the d.c. circuit court of -- who was being nominated for the d.c. court of appeals. the i think he was filibustered seven separate times. republican leadership was investigating the possibility of ensuring that we could get a vote. the only way that seemed possible was to assert this power of overruling a -- the parliamentarian's ruling through the chair, and thus establishing by 51 votes or a mere majority a
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new rule of the senate. well, that was deemed to be such a change -- it was called the nuclear option because it hadn't been done. you could say that it was comparable to the use of a nuclear weapon in a war. it was a game-changing proposition, to say the least. that members on both sides of the aisle got together in what they called the gang of 14, and i think almost everybody in this body is glad that the cooler heads prevailed, that those 14 members decided that they would reach an agreement among themselves that would make it impossible for either the democratic majority to automatically filibuster nominees or for the republican party to have this right to change the rules just because they had 51 votes. and therefore they reached a compromise which for judicial nominees was that there would be
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no filibuster except in extraordinary circumstances. both sides deemed that a sufficient way of resolving the issue that came before us at that time. everybody stood down. the war did not occur. the nuclear weapon was not used. and that was for the best of the country and certainly for the best of the senate. we avoided a crisis, and certainly there would have been a crisis. i can't imagine that my friends on the democratic side of the aisle would not have reacted very badly to the use of that nuclear option had it been done by the republican majority. well, today the shoe is on the other foot. the democratic majority now has reasons to believe that it would like to move forward with more alacrity on legislation, and therefore it believes that by this same nuclear option procedure, it should change the rules so that the ability to filibuster at the beginning of the consideration of the bill is eliminated.
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the republican minority naturally has said wait a minute, that's wrong for two reasons. first of all, just as you accused us of doing, you're changing the rules without going through the rules process change. this is your own version of the nuclear option. if it was wrong then, it's still wrong now. and most of us agreed, at least after the fact, that it was wrong then. but secondly, what you would do if you eliminate the requirement for cloture and a cloture vote if there is an objection to a unanimous consent request to take up the bill or the motion to proceed to a bill, what you're doing is putting all of the power into the hands of the majority leader, in this case the democratic leader, to decide whether there will be any amendments at all, from the republican side or even from the democratic side. the only leverage that the minority has to ensure that it will be able to offer amendments is to negotiate with the
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majority leader and ensure that that right exists, and the only leverage it has is to do deny cloture on the motion to proceed in order to instigate that negotiation. without that leverage -- and it is political leverage. let's call it by its true name -- but without that political leverage, that check and balance, the majority leader in the senate takes a very giant step toward becoming exactly what the speaker of the house is, in effect a dictator. now, i use that term in a very kind sense because the speakers of the house under which i -- under whom i served as a member of the house of representatives and certainly the current speaker of the house are fine people who cared a lot about the institution of the house of representatives, and in some cases cared for some degree of minority rights, but they all have one thing in common. they run the house. if they decide through the rules
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committee there aren't going to be any amendments offered by the other side, there aren't any amendments offered. frequently, the minority is in a position of complaining about the fact that the speaker through the rules committee denies them the right to offer amendments or controls which amendments they can offer, controls the time. so if you're a member of the house of representatives and you want to offer an amendment, you can't automatically do that, as has been the case in the u.s. senate. you have to go to the rules committee, which is hand-picked by the speaker, and you have to ask them for permission to offer an amendment. and how long you will have to talk about that amendment and the wording of the amendment, and all of the other conditions that the rules committee establishes for debate of a matter on the floor of the house of representatives. when the constitution was originally written, the founders' idea was that you would have two different legislative bodies that would provide a check and a balance on each other. one would represent the immediate passions of the people, the house of
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representatives, the people's body. if the people were emotionally invested in a particular issue, the house was elected and they would hurry up and pass that legislation, and they could do it with a majority because the power of the speaker was able to run over any minority rights. the minority wouldn't be able to get in the way. but when it came to the senate, the idea was slow it down, think it over. let's make sure we want to do this. and that's why you have the six-year terms, the continuing body, and the minority rights to offer amendments. that right to offer amendments is perhaps the most important way in which the united states senate is distinguished from other legislative bodies around the world and from the house of representatives, because it does guarantee minority rights, and not just party minority. if you're a member of the majority party from a state that has a very distinct and serious interest in a bill and the majority leader can simply say, i don't want to consider your
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amendment, you're out of luck under this proposal, whether you are a member of the minority or the majority. so it is not just minority rights in the sense of political minority but also, let's say you're from a small state rather than a big state and there's a bill on the intoer that helps the big states. you want to offer an freddie mac amendment from a -- you want to offer an amendment from a little state. it is up to the majority leader to decide whether you can offer that amendment or not, if this rule are change is adopted. so there are two reasons why the senate should be careful about proceeding down this path. that's what the minority leader has been talking about. it is important for the senate to reflect in a longer view not only the views of the majority, political or otherwise, but also those who might have some disagreement with the minority leader, the theory being that the majority isn't always 100% right. and, in any event, people around
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the country have a right to be represented through their senator to get their points of view argued and discussed and perhaps considered for a vote here in the senate. that's always been the way it is. and it is a tradition that has served this country well. to eliminate that with this so-called rules change would do great disservice to the american people, to the legislative process, to our constitution, and to the great ability of this body to perform its function in the way that has been deemed so important for over 200 years now. there is a reason why this is called the greatest deliberative body in the history of mankind. because we deliberate. we think about things, we debate them, we have all different point of views offered -- or potentially offered through an amendment process. and if that's denied, this is no longer the body that it has always been. now, people before us have cautioned, both democrat and
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republican majorities, mott to take advantage of their sheer majority. democrat and republican leaders -- in fact there is a very interesting new book out by, i believe, the former chief of staff of the great democratic leader george mitch l, joined in by a parliamentarian at the time the republicans were in control. a bipartisan book that talks about the necessity of maintaining the rules as they currently are and not using this nuclear option to deny inter rights. it is a book worth reading and it is a book that i commend to my colleagues before we embark on what might be a very fateful step in this body. let me just make a couple of other points here. under senate rule 5, not to be two in the weeds on this, but i think it is important for us to actually know what we are talking about here.
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here's the senate rule speaking to the amendment process. and i'm quoting now. "the rules of the senate shall continue from one congress to the next congress unless they are changed, as provided in these rules." end of quote. and then senate rule 22 says, that "to end debate hon a motion to amend or to change the senate rules -- quote -- "the necessary affirm:15 vote shall be two-thirds of the senators present and voteology." end of quote. so what i said earlier that it makes two-thirds vote to change the rules of the senate is very clear in our rules and they are continuing rules. so the notion that somehow this can be done just with a 51-vote majority is explicitly reequity jed by -- rejected by the rules themselves. as i said, when this issue has previously been raised, we've been very careful not to use the
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mere power of the majority to change the rules but have abided by the requirement of our own rules to do it according to those rules with a two-thirds majority. i spoke before about the rights of political minority. i think it is worth noting again that each senator represents a lot of people in a separate state. two of us per state. and our constituents deserve the right to be heard in this body. it is one of the great things that, ae as a matter of comity,e have always accorded each other. we are courteous to each other on the floor because we understand it is the best way for all of us to be heard. if a colleague wishes to raise a matter while i'm speaking and says, "would you just give me two minutes that i could raise this matter on the floor and then be done," of course, we
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grant that request because we understand how important it is for our constituents to be represented, to have a voice. and if another senator needs to raise a point on behalf. voters in his state, we acknowledge that as necessary and important. and that's why we think it is virtually sacred that all senators should have the right to represent their people, their state. no state should be disenfranchised, whether it voted democrat or it voted republican. there are a lot of democrats and republicans in every state. and a lot of folks that don't belong to either party. they need a voice in the senate. each of us represent those people. it is not right that the voice of some senators and, therefore, their constituents be silenced because of in effect a power grab here through what's -- through what i've referred to as
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ththe nuclear option. as leader mcconnell noted yesterday, what is potentially being proposed here would undermine the very purpose of the senate as the one place in our system where minority views, whether their a political minority or any other kind of minority, and opinions have always been respected and in most cases incooperate cases ino law. thathat would be lost to the und states senate. here's what the late-senator byrd once said. and i quote him. "the senate is the only place in government where the rights of a numerical minority are so protected. the senate is a forum of the states where regardless of size or populations, all states have an equal voice." the presiding officer and i can appreciate that because we don't come from one of the bigger states. and senator byrd goes on, "without the protection of
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unlimited debate, small states like west virginia might be trampled. extended deliberation and debate, when employed judiciously, protect every senator and the interests of their constituency and are essential to the protection of the liberties of a free people." eppedz of quote. he was specifically speaking to point i made there. to the interests of the their constituency. it is not a senator's right that we're arguing about here. we're the voice of the people we represent. it's our constituents' rights who would be denied by this process. they deserve a voice. they have he been guaranteed a voice through us, the temporary stewards of their voice. and to deny that voice, especially through the procedure that's been suggested here, as the late-senator byrd said, would be a denial of something essential to the protection of the liberties of a free people.
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the current democratic leader was one of the staunchest defenders of the senate's protection of minority rights for all of the reasons that i mentioned. he spoke eloquently about this on earlier occasions. he believes, and he has said, that he is frustrated by the process that he sees not working as quickly as he would like to see it work. around as a result, he has apparently change the his mind as to the process for changing the rules as well as the rules itself. but the whole question of the filibuster i think needs to be prowl understood here as meaning really different things to different people. it is essentially a tool that brings the senate to the center because it requires compromise, it requires people to get together and talk. as i said, the right that the minority has to filibuster the motion to proceed is to say,
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mr. leader, unless you are willing to guarantee us that we can have some amendments on this bill and that we get to pick our own amendments, then we're going to force you to get 60 votes lined up in order to proceed to the bill. that's the only leverage we have. a understand so you're not really filibustering sms you're not trying to talk the bill to death. you don't have any intention of taking a lot of time you just want to be heard, have your ohm up. a lot of times we say it will take just ten minutes. but if the majority can say, nope, you're not going to be able to do that he can say that republicans have engaged in a filibuster when in fact all it is is an objection to his motion to proceed without having assured the minority of any right to offer amendments. so, it is an important tool but not for the way that most people think, to delay and to talk things to death. that is not what has happened here. in fact, in most cases, the minority leader has filed a
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motion -- the cloture petition on a friday and we voted on it on a monday. so no time of the senate has been taken up in the intermediate time period. i know that there's a narrative that the senate hasn't been able to get anything done during the past couple of years. but it is not because of some unprecedented use of the filibuster. as i said, have you you seen members down here talking hours on end about a particular issue or all through the night? no, you haven't seen that. that was kind of dong in a bigone era when strom thurmond was here and some others. but it hasn't been done. a budget -- we haven't done a budget here if try years. that's been a sore point among a lot of people. you can't filibuster the budget. so is the reason why we haven't done a bucket because there's been a filibuster?
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absolutely not, bass th becausee rules don't permit a filibuster of the budget. so there are a lot of misconceptions here. i would just hope that my colleagues would take it deep breath, step back. those who came from the house of representatives, as i did, remember what it was like when you were in the minority in the house and slings you had no rights. is that the way you want it to be here, because some day you're going to be a minority in the senate -- this body will change majorities -- but in any event, whether we're talking political majorities or not, as i commented to the presiding officer of the same state as robert byrd, this state didn't always have the power to be heard because it was a small state. so it doesn't matter whether you are republican or democrat, your constituents need to have a right to be heard.
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our current senate rules protect that right on 'of our constituents and i believe that it would be a grave, grave error for members of this current -- the current members of this body or those who take office next year to conclude that because thethey have been frustrated sometimes in what they wanted to accomplish, it is worth it to just brush the minority aside and say, because i couldn't get everything i wanted, i was frustrated with your desire to offer amendments, i'm going to take that right away you are from by changing in rule in this way. i think it would be gre be regrd later in time i think the reaction would be the same as occurred with regard to the so-called gang of 14 when this nuclear option was considered several years ago. i think most people say they were wise people who brought us back from the brink, this
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precipice, had we gone over that, this boyd would not be the same as it is today and probably would be regretting that decision greaterly. greater -- that decision greatly. i just urge my colleagues who i know in good faith are frustrated at their inability to do exactly what they want do because they're in the majority, to just stop and reflect about the damage that that would do to this institution, how they would feel if they were in the minority, how -- i me, members of my party are going to be pretty hard to convince that we should go back to the rule the way it is today if the rule is changed to our disadvantage. that's really starting a nuclear war, from a parliamentary point of view. it is not a good idea for anybody, especially the american people. so i urge my colleagues to be open to alternatives, have aen open mind, be willing to think this through, talk it through to
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have a congenial debate on the floor here about the possibilities, and eventually i suspect, mr. president, that as this happens so many times in this great body, reasonable positions have preveiled, maybe after a the love unreasonable ones were proposed, but generally we've come to the right conclusions and we've done so because we respect each other's rights. and that h -- that has produced the best legislation over 230 years of our country's history. the presiding officer: the senator from new york. mr. schumer: thank you, mr. president. first, i want to thank my colleague from arizona. not just for his remarks in the last few minutes but for his service here. i think that everyone on our side knows that the senator from arizona has strongly felt views, many times different than many of ours, but that they are
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sincere, they are heartfelt, they are honorable and that they are not -- quote -- "political, and i very much appreciate that. let me say a few things, though, about these rules changes. the overwhelming fact that hovers over this chamber is that it is broken. nobody disagrees with that. the senate is broken. this great, wonderful institution that has had such a legendary history, the greatest legislative body, perhaps, the world has ever seen is dysfunctional. none of us dispute that. and you have to start from there. how do you change it? so it is no longer dysfunctional? and i know my colleague, the minority leader, the republican leader, says well, it's the personalities or it's character or whatever. that explanation doesn't wash. the amount of good character in this body is probably no
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different, no more, no less than the amount of good character in previous senates that were far more functional. and i would argue that it's pretty high. by and large, we respect our colleagues as individuals and as senators on both sides of the aisle and across the aisle. so it's an easy way out to say change character. and i guess when you say change character, you mean change your character. the bottom line is that the senate is broken, and we cannot just maintain the status quo. we cannot maintain the status quo. i'd like to quote -- i hope she won't mind -- at a meeting we had on this this morning, debbie stabenow, my great colleague from michigan talked about a constituent she met who said when are you going to change the rules? she said you sound like people who are -- you sound something
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like somebody who has suffered from spousal abuse and keeps suffering from it and suffering from it and suffering from it. and says i can't change it. well, of course that person can change it, and of course we can change things. and what we are trying to do on this side is come up with some changes that will make the senate flow better but at the same time preserve the essential character of the senate. if we were to propose a rules change that would say you need 51 votes for everything, we would be no more, no less than the house of representatives. there are some on our side, frankly i think my colleague from iowa at one point argued let's move the number down to 55. we're not doing that. the rules changes that we're entertaining are done in mind with preserving the character of the senate.
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and making sure that individual senator rights are protected and that the rights of the minority are protected and that the place is just not stampeded by majority votes. in the house, you can have a majority of one and still pretty much get your way. in the senate, that wouldn't happen even if you had 55 or 58 senators or even 60 senators with the changes that we have proposed. and so let's look at -- there have been attempts not to change the rules, but rather to sort of come to some degree of comity between the parties. i know because under leader reid's direction, i was involved and under senator mcconnell's direction, senator alexander was involved. and two years ago when there was an attempt to do rules changes, it was particularly senator alexander for whom i have enormous respect in the same way i have respect for senator kyl,
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proposed that instead of changing the rules, we try to work things out better. and there is a basic rule here in the senate. the majority gets to propose. that's an enormous privilege, an enormous advantage. we get to set the agenda. in the committees and on the floor. but the minority has the right to offer amendments which either poke holes in what we have proposed or even talk about other subjects, because we don't have a rule like in the house where just about everything has to be germane. and so senator alexander and i attempted to do that. we said on the one hand, the republicans will not block the motion to proceed and let us go forward and debate the bills and on the other side we would allow a reasonable amount of
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amendments, germane, some not germane, to the bills that came up. well, obviously, it failed early on in the senate. the basic gentleman's agreement didn't work. it's our view that if the agreet fell apart when our colleagues on the other side of the aisle said they will not allow to move forward the president's nominee for the cfpb, the consumer financial protection board. she will now join us in the senate and discuss rules changes in one of the ways that history works in strange ways now, but we said we'll allow some amendments. nope, we're not letting her come up, period. and that was against the spirit, at least, of the agreement. i'm sure if my colleague from tennessee were here, he might have a different interpretation, but at least that's ours. but the overall point is the so-called gentleman's agreement fell apart early in the senate,
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never to be resurrected. and it is this belief on our side that we should allow amendments from the other side, but they should not be abused. there should not be 50 of them. they should not talk about everything under the sun. yes, there can be some nongermane amendments. we understand what those are all about, but it shouldn't be a piling on. and it is our view, frankly, that the goal of many on the other side was simply to obstruct whatever happened here, to show that the government didn't work in hopes that there would be an electoral advantage to that argument and people would change the senate majority. well, it didn't happen. and so now there is a new opportunity. i would make the point that while our colleagues on the other side say the only reason we filibuster is because you guys filled a tree. well, let's look at the numbers.
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in the last senate, this senate up to now, there have been 19 tree fillings by leader reid. there have been 110 cloture motions. that is 6-1, a little less than 6-1. a little more than 5-1, less than 6-1. so clearly, the filibuster, the use of the motion to proceed to prevent us from getting on a bill unless it has 60 votes, has far exceeded the number of times that the leader has filled the tree. and it's been done on things that aren't even amendable. judges, appointments. there couldn't be objections that we wouldn't allow amendments on those things. you can't amend let's have half the judge be nominated to the sixth circuit, or let's have the assistant secretary for foreign policy -- for state only have these powers. that doesn't happen.
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so even on those things, there has been filibuster. we asked right now -- i think there are about 20 judges pending. let's move them. no, we're going to filibuster. yesterday, a sportsmen's bill that has a lot of dissension on our side and probably has more agreement on the other side than this side was filibustered. and this goes on and on and on. so, mr. president, the rules changes that we are proposing will not prevent the minority from exercising its rights, from being able to offer amendments, and in fact from filibustering, but the goal here is simple -- use the filibuster sparingly. not 110 times in a session of
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congress. even in the days of the great southern barons and the civil rights debates where the people from the south regarded filibuster as their only weapon to stop something they strongly, in my opinion, very wrongly disagreed with, it was used a handful of times. only on the major debates of the time. now the filibuster is used for everything. district court judges, small, minor amendments. and so what we basically want to do, some have proposed, led by the senators from oregon, senator merkley and from new mexico, senator udall -- is say if you want to have a filibuster, you have got to talk. you can't have just one person get up and say i object and then you need 60 votes or the bill doesn't come up. what will that do?
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in my opinion, that restores the proper balance to the senate. if you have to talk, not just one person but everybody who is against it, you're only going to be able to sustain that filibuster on major issues. no doubt that the other side would have had the ability to sustain even if we went 24 hours, seven days a week, they would have enough passion and enough enthusiasm and enough bodies that they would filibuster the health care bill. probably they would do the same on supreme court justices, as would we if we were in the minority, if we vehemently disagreed with a proposal, but if you have to talk, if you have to be on the floor and actually filibuster as opposed to just invoking the rules, you're going to use it sparingly because you just can't sustain it for every
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amendment and for every minor bill or, frankly, for bills that have a large amount of support. we do know that there are a lot of -- that there is a small number of our colleagues who are much more focused on doing their own amendments or stopping the whole senate. we can name them on the other side of the aisle, but under this rule, they would have to get more support than just four or five people to do it over and over again, and it wouldn't happen. and the filibuster would be used as it should be. we are not saying no filibustering. we are not saying go back to 51 and simple majority rule. it would be used on major issues where there's a real division and there is a lot of passion and strong feeling and conviction, as opposed to a simple way, let's block everything and tie this place in
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a knot. and when filibusters would decline and there would be no motions to proceed that would be debatable, what would happen? i guarantee my colleagues on the other side of the aisle that more amendments would be allowed and be offered because we wouldn't be in this tit for tat situation. would it be unlimited amendments? no. would it be every time we have a bill we have to debate a passion of a single senator from a single state over and over and over again? no. but would there be plenty of amendments and would the minority not being able to filibuster most bills have sort of high ground, whoever that minority is, that amendments should be offered? absolutely. the bottom line, mr. president, we cannot do nothing. there is too much at stake in
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our nation to have the senate paralyzed once again. the house is a partisan body. it passes a lot of things in a very partisan way. the senate still must be the cooling saucer that was envisioned by the founding fathers, by george washington and james madison. there must be the ability to -- quote -- the passions of the people cool in this government and it resides in the senate, and the changes we have proposed continue that tradition but prevent, mitigates strongly against if not totally prevent paralysis, which is where we are at right now. remember, 110 cloture motions, and that will happen again in the next session, the next congress in the senate if we don't do something to change it, and the idea once again of just blaming this person or that person is not seeing the larger
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problem that needs change and correction. the proposals that i believe this side will make -- and we haven't yet discussed them in our caucus -- will return the senate to the way it was envisioned by the founding fathers, a body where minority rights have much greater strength than the majority but a body where bipartisan compromise is encouraged, not discouraged. and so to my colleague from arizona, we're open to suggestions, but suggestions that say you just change your way, or you just change your way back to you, aren't going to reduce the gridlock. i believe that senator alexander and i and senator mcconnell when we proposed this gentleman's compromise two years ago and didn't change the rules all had the best of intentions but it failed. and we have our reason for why it failed, and they may have
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another, but it's indisputable that it failed. we have to look at something new. and i hope that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, if they don't agree with the proposals that we are likely to make, will have their own suggestions, but suggestions that go beyond just change the personalities, change the individuals, whatever. mr. president, in conclusion, this is a wonderful body. i served in it 14 years. i respect it. i revere it. and i still love with all the dysfunction coming to work monday morning, which is a test for me in life. but our country has so many issues and so many problems and needs the senate to lead and needs a senate that is not paralyzed and gridlock. and without changing the rules, i fear we'll have a repeat of the last two years where each side blames the other and
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nothing gets done. so with that, mr. president, i yield the floor, and yield -- i know that i have several colleagues on the floor who want to speak on this issue. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from colorado. mr. udall: mr. president, i want to associate myself with the remarks of my colleague from the great state of new york and look forward to working with him and the entire senate to find ways in which, that the senate can continue to do the important work that the public asked us to do. mr. president, i rise this morning, again, to speak to the importance of extending the production tax credit, otherwise known as the p.t.c., for wind energy. i wanted to mention that the production tax credit has been used on many occasions to promote other kinds of energy development, including natural gas. the production tax credit for wind particularly is set to
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expire at the end of december. and as a result, thousands of hardworking middle-class families in colorado and across our country who currently work in this important energy industry are at extreme risk of losing their jobs. and in fact, many of these workers have already been laid off as companies brace themselves for the expiration of the p.t.c. and to put it in stark terms, mr. president, the potentially bright future of a quintessentially american industry is uncertain unless we act as soon as possible. mr. president, i've come to the floor now some 22 times to discuss the wind energy industry. when i do so, i highlight the positive effects that the p.t.c. has had on one individual state. i had the great privilege of speaking to the presiding officer's state, wind energy industry in montana.
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today i want to take the opportunity to talk about the wolverine state. michigan is another example of how the p.t.c. has revitalized manufacturing and created good-paying jobs while providing the state with clean energy. i would like to, mr. president, ask unanimous consent at this point that a statement from senator carl levin, the senior senator from michigan, be included in the record. it speaks to the wind energy industry in michigan. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. udall: we've seen improvement in the nation's economy, but many families and businesses across our country are still struggling to make ends meet. and this has been especially true in michigan, a state that has one of the nation's highest unemployment rates and a sluggish manufacturing base. and this is all a result of the tough economic times that we've experienced over the last four years. but if you look at michigan,
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mr. president, the wind industry saw an opportunity in michigan. michigan is known for its highly skilled workforce. and so the wind industry took root in michigan, took advantage of this workforce, and now we see that in michigan there is significant manufacturing of wind turbines occurring there. and that's reinvigorated michigan's industrial base and it's aided in the recovery of the state's economy. you think about it, thousands of parts go into each car manufactured in michigan. and wind turbines from the towers to the cells to the blades are no different. someone told me recently that something on the order of 8,000 parts go into a wind turbine. so if you think about that, the skills of these hardworking michigan workers translate into the development, the engineering, the construction,
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the manufacturing required for wind turbines, which is then in turn provided the state of michigan and thousands -- i should say the local communities with thousands of new jobs and billions of dollars in investment. you can see all the green circles on the map of michigan here that identify the places in which this manufacturing is occurring. and this is in large part a result of the targeted federal incentive like the production tax credit. mr. president, i would like to highlight further some of the many benefits of the wind energy industry in michigan. there are at least 40 facilities that develop and produce various components for the wind energy industry, and that supports about 5,000 jobs. furthermore, wind projects have contributed over $7 million in property tax payments to local governments. that's money that helps fund schools, infrastructure, and other vital community services.
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so the state is building the towers and the blades and the cells so that you can harvest the wind. michigan is taking advantage of that opportunity as well. they're ramping up their deployment of this technology to harvest the wind, because the wind energy manufacturing sector is located there. it's a sreurt waus cycle -- it is a virtuous cycle if you will. in 2011 it more than doubled its capacity for wind. it is on path to increase that for this year. that would include a county wind project located in the middle lower peninsula. this project not only created over 250 construction jobs and 15 permanent maintenance and operation jobs, it also doubled the tax base of the local schools. this has created a positive ripple effect on all these
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communities that's been noticeable and powerful. and moreover, there are currently enough wind projects under construction in michigan to nearly double the current wind power production in the state with even more potential of element in the works. the point i'm making is that the key is the production tax credit when it comes to these projects, and most importantly, the jobs that they create. mr. president, there remains a vast untapped potential when it comes to wind energy in the state. in fact, the national renewable energy lab estimates that michigan has enough wind power potential to meet 160% of the state's current electricity needs. the extension, therefore, of the p.t.c. is essential to the continued development of michigan's wind resources which will create good-paying american jobs, aid local communities and build a clean energy economy.
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it's pretty simple, mr. president. the production tax credit, the p.t.c., equals jobs, and we need to pass it and extend as soon as possible. how do we do that? well, we want that bright future to be reeled. we need to work together and expand the wind p.t.c. now. it's common sense, has bipartisan support, has bicameral support. we need to extend it now, as soon as possible. the p.t.c. has not only aided in the growth and expansion of our manufacturing economies in states like michigan, but it's also shown us that america can and, frankly, must outcompete china and the other countries that are trying to develop their own wind energy industry. so let's come together, let's find a path forward, let's pass an extension of the wind p.t.c. as soon as possible.
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the longer we wait, the longer we don't act, it puts the significant economic strides that we've seen in states like michigan and all around the country at risk. and it substantially inhibits future job growth. we simply, mr. president, cannot afford to see this promising new technology future to companies like china. mr. president, with that, i yield the floor. thank you, mr. president. a senator: mr. president?
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the presiding officer: the senior senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: mr. president, thank you very much. i rise this morning to spend a couple of moments talking about the work we have to do between now and the end of the year. there are various ways to describe this, but it's usually described under the broad umbrella terminology called the fiscal cliff. some debate, the use of those words, but there's no question that we have very difficult decisions to make in the next couple of weeks. my primary concern -- and i think this is a concern that's widely share here in the senate and across the country -- is what will all this mean for middle-income families? what will their tax rates be? what will their near-term economic security be? and what can they expect for their families and for the communities within which they live? especially at this time of the year, because a lot of families are not just preparing for the new year and what will happen, they're also trying to make decisions about spending, about
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holiday shopping, about investments, about priorities that they have to invest in in their own lives. we know from some of the data, when it comes to debating what will happen to middle-income families and their tax rates, we know the positive side of extending those tax rates for middle-income families. we also know the down side for not getting that work done, not extending them. to give you two examples, the congressional budget office says extending tax rates for the middle class would boost gross domestic product by 1.3% and would increase jobs by 1.6 million jobs. so two very positive impacts if we can get the agreement, which i think we can arrive at working with democrats and republicans to do this to extend the tax rates for middle-income families. g.d.p. up by 1.3 if we get the
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work done to extend those middle-class tax cuts. another way to look at this is from the negative side of it as well, the consequences of not getting this work done to extend ph*eulgts income tax rates. mark zandi, an economist widely quoted across the country and many of my colleagues in the senate, mark zandi says the economic impact of ending these tax cuts, not getting agreements, would reduce gross domestic product by $174 billion. we don't want to do that. that would be a very bad result for everyone. whether you talk to -- whether you read, i should say, the c.b.o. numbers or whether you talk to economists or read about their assessments, whether you talk tow c.e.o.'s, all agree that we have to deal with both the tax rate question for
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middle-income families as well as making sure we're avoiding the across-the-board cuts i'll get to in a moment. so there's much to do to solve what our year-end challenge is, and we certainly have more challenges in 2013. but it's basically about getting our fiscal house in order. part of that is spending cuts. part of that is getting more revenue. as well as even as we're getting our fiscal house in order, dealing with various tax challenges along the way. we should point out that there has been a lot of progress made. just give you two examples of that. we know that when the national jump numbers were announce -- national job numbers were announced in october, part of the reporting done by the bureau of labor statistics was that we had an october number, but then we had a september and an august number that were revised upward, thank goodness. when you combine the august, september, and october job
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growth numbers, it means in those three months we created more than 500,000 jobs across the country. or i should say the economy created 500,000 jobs. the exact number is about 511,000 jobs. that is a measure of progress. i was looking at housing numbers. there are some housing assessments. we're releasing a report or summary of data this week in the joint economic committee. to give you two examples on housing numbers. the number of private housing units that were started last month increased by 31,000 units to 894,000 units at an annual rate. what that means is it's up about 3.6%. that's good news. maybe even better news, because we want to get the assessment of people in the trenches, and one -- one bit of good news on housing is that confidence among home builders rose again in november. that will also be part of that
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report. so an increase in jobs the last couple of months, more economic growth, more progress, more momentum and good -- good information or good news on housing. the problem is it's not good enough. we're not creating jobs fast enough. the pace of the recovery needs to accelerate. it's not moving fast enough for us to fully recover. i like to say, as many have used this analogy, we -- we've been in a ditch. we've been down a pretty -- a pretty deep hole. we've been climbing out the last couple of years but we're not out yet fully. we'll be out and have a full recovery when we see the -- see those job numbers increase. so these decisions we make on tax policy, on the end-of-the-year agreements we have to reach are vitally important to continue that progress and, in fact, to move or accelerate the job growth numbers even faster. as i mentioned before, part of this isn't just about tax rates. it's also about reducing
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spending. fortunately, there's a track record, despite all the rancor and partisanship here in washington, there's -- there's also another story of bipartisan progress that was made over the last couple of years by agreeing to spending cuts. we agreed to a little less than a trillion dollars of spending cuts over the next ten years. so it shows that we can -- we can come together. the main point that i started with was on the -- on middle-income families. we need to give middle-class americans certainty by the end of the year. frankly, we should do it even before the end of the year. we should do it in the next couple of days or weeks. we can do that by saying to our friends in the other body, the house of representatives, to say to them, pass the bill that we passed in the senate, which gives tax certainty, a continuation of tax rates to 98% of taxpayers. we should do that because it
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will provide some certainty for the end of the year and for going into next year. i have an additional point to make about that as it relates to the payroll tax cut. we came together last year at -- late 2011 into 2012, as we had done a year earlier, to -- to cut the payroll tax, to -- to reduce that tax so that -- that most workers, most families in this country have about a thousand dollars extra to put in their pockets, more take-home pay that they can spend on their priorities and invest in the priorities of their own family, whether it's making a purchase for that family, whether it's paying for education, whether it's just getting from point a to point b, putting gas in the car, whatever it is, that that family decides to use those extra dollars for, it has had an enormously positive impact. 122 million americans -- or i should say households were
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positively impacted by that payroll tax cut. what it means in terms of jobs, about 400,000 jobs created. so one of the reasons we can say that we're making progress in developing some -- and developing some momentum behind the job creation numbers is because of the payroll tax cut that was put in place in 2012. we know that the kind of progress we're making, the kind of certainty that we want for middle-income families can be badly undermined if we don't get an agreement not only on tax rates but also on this across-the-board indiscriminate cut that would take place if we don't have a bipartisan agreement. it's known by that fancy term "sequester," or the other term, sequestration. what that really means -- and i'm not sure many people heard that terminology before about a year or two ago -- but really what that means is across-the-board cutting. some people say, well, that -- that sometimes makes sense, in my family, or in my business or
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when i have to make -- we have to make a decision, sometimes we have to cut spending across the board. unfortunately, if we don't make cuts that -- that help our economy grow, we'll badly injure or ability to grow the economy in the near term and in the future. so we all agree that cuts have to be made. the question is: how do you do that? do you cut -- do you make cuts that are smart and that help us grow, or do you make cuts that are indiscriminate, without any kind a strategy behind them? fortunately i think there's agreement here that across-the-board cuts, whether they're defense cuts, which will impact jobs; or whether they're non-defense jobs, which will also impact the economy, that that doesn't make a lot of sense. it doesn't make sense to say, all cuts are equal, therefore, medical research should be cut in the same way that an inefficient program should be cut. that doesn't really make sense and i think most americans understand that. so we've got to get an agreement
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to avoid those automatic cuts and i think we can. i think democrats and republicans agree that that would be the wrong approach to allow that to happen. i think we can get agreement on that. what we need is a balance. just like when any family has to make a decision about their own budget or about their own spending priorities, they need a balance and that -- obviously the balance is two parts. one is revenue, one is spending. so we need to get that balance in place. we also need, in order to achieve that kind of balance, democrats and republicans willing to work together, compromising, not getting everything that you want but getting enough of an agreement that can move the country forward. despite all the problems here, i have a high degree of confidence we can get an agreement that folks will come together and compromise. part of that starts with getting or i should say putting in place an agreement that is already one
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element to the compromise and that's not just voting on but -- but having the agreement that says let's have certainty right now for middle-income families. everyone here agrees with very limited exception that we should extend tax rates, keep the tax rates the same for about 98% of the american people. there's broad agreement on that. now, some on the other side don't want to -- don't have to have a -- a conclusion to that because they -- they want to have a debate about what happens to the wealthiest among us, the very top income earners, roughly about 2% of income earners. but, look, we -- we have agreement on the other 98%. so what i would say is whatever it takes to give meaning or integrity to the vote we had here in the senate to -- to get an agreement here but also to encourage the house to vote to say, let's give middle-income families the certainty they deserve. let's just say that we're going to agree, democrats and republicans, that 98% of
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taxpayers across the country are going to have their tax rates continued. then we can have a big debate after that about what happens to the wealthiest among us. i think it makes sense, at a time of high deficits and a -- and a debt problem that -- that will confront us for years, that we have some part of that revenue come from the wealthiest among us. people across the aisle might disagree with that and we can have a big debate about that, but let's put in place in law the kind of certainty that middle-income families should have. and i think we can -- we can do that. so let's get in place an agreement for the 98% and then we'll have a big debate about the other -- the wealthiest 2%. and let's get in place tax rates that will allow us to do that. i think a little history is instructive here. we know that in the 1990's and the 2000's, we know that there there's, according to the data, no relationship between lower
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marginal rates for the wealthiest among us and faster, accelerated economic growth. and i emphasize "no relationship," because i think some have made the case. two examples. during the clinton administration, to address the growing budget deficit at the time, which wasn't as severe as today but it was a pretty substantial deficit, the top marginal tax rate was raised, it went up, on the wealthiest individuals and the economy grew at the fastest rate in a generation and more than 22,000 jobs were added. so that's what happened during the -- the -- president clinton's two terms in office. during the following eight years, the top marginal rate was lowered -- not raised but lowered -- for the wealthiest individuals but the economy never regained the strength of the previous decade, the 1990's. job growth slowed and wages stagnated, leaving middle-income families especially vulnerable
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when the great recession began towards the end of 200. 2007. so that's some of the history that is part of the foundation or undergirds the debate we're going to have here on tax rates. we -- this isn't a lot of theory or a lot of "maybes," we have data and information and kind of a track record trying it two different ways. the way we tried this under president clinton and the way we tried it urn the next administration. so i think that's -- i think that's instructive. and, finally, i'd say that for all of the -- for all of the challenges we have, for all the disagreements we have, i think most people in the senate, no matter who they are, democrats, republicans, independents, whether they're running for office this year or not, all heard the same message. they all heard from people maybe two basic mess anlz. amess -- messages. at least that's what i heard in
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pennsylvania all across the state, for longer than 2012 but certainly most fervently, with a sense of urgency this year. here's what i heard, a two-part message. do something to create jobs, or do more to create jobs, move the economy faster. no question i heard that over and over again. and soon thereafter, within seconds of saying that, families or taxpayers that i ran into across the state would say to me, "you have to work together with people in the other party to get this done." you know why they say that? that's not some unrealistic expectation that the american people have of us. it makes a lot of sense. because in every family out there, whether it's in pennsylvania or across the country, in every business, small business or larger businesses, in every one of those circumstances, in a family or in a business, those individuals have had to sit down over the last couple of years especially, work out
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differences, set priorities, set goals, reduce spending sometim sometimes, make investments that they know they needed to make to grow their business or to create more economic security for their family. they've had to do that. and all they're saying to us here is just take a lesson fro from -- from the life of a lot of families in america. sit down, set priorities, work on -- on coming together and get agreements. i think we can do that, despite all the differences here. i think both parties understand the urgency of these questions, whether it's the tax rates, whether it's across-the-board spending cuts which would be indiscriminate and harmful, whether it's what we do about individual programs and what we do in the near term to reduce deficit and debt. we've got to come together as families have to come together and make agreements with people they're sometimes disagreeing with or not getting along with every day of the week, and the
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same decisions that businesses have to make almost every day of the week, or at least every month on their spending, on their priorities, and on their investments. mr. president, i think we can do that and i know we have to do it and with that i will yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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U.S. Senate
CSPAN November 27, 2012 9:00am-12:00pm EST

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TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 43, Byrd 28, Michigan 20, Washington 18, Mcconnell 17, America 11, Mr. Reid 10, Kentucky 9, Lyndon Johnson 8, Mr. Mcconnell 7, Reid 7, Nevada 5, United States 4, Alexander 4, Grover Norquist 3, United States Senate 3, Obama 3, Mitch Mcconnell 3, Mr. Kyl 3, Lansing 3
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Tuner Channel 91 (627 MHz)
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